U.S. Helicopters, Cargo Planes Continue Pakistan Aid
Compiled from U.S. Embassy Islamabad Reports
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2010 – Four U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters arrived today and U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft began transporting international aid within Pakistan as part of the continued U.S. humanitarian assistance in support of flood relief from the monsoon floods.
The four helicopters are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters urgently ordered to Pakistan last week by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. They bring to 11 the total number of U.S. military aircraft in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, two Air Force C-130 aircraft from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan flew to the Pakistani air force base Chaklala in Rawalpindi this morning in response to a Pakistani government request to pick up and transport international relief supplies stored there for delivery to flood-stricken areas. These flights are scheduled to continue daily to assist with getting out urgently needed relief supplies. An estimated 52,000 pounds of relief supplies were delivered today to Sukkur for distribution by Pakistani government and military authorities.
To date, the United States has pledged to provide about $76 million in assistance to flood-affected populations in Pakistan. Support includes both financial assistance and the immediate provision of urgently needed supplies and services, drawing on unique U.S. capabilities and resources.
U.S. military helicopters have rescued 3,555 people and transported 436,340 pounds of emergency relief supplies in spite of bad weather. In addition, within 36 hours of the initial flooding on July 29, the United States began delivering thousands of packaged meals to Pakistan from U.S. stocks in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. In all, 436,944 meals that conform with Islamic law were provided to civilian and military officials in Pakistan for distribution to Pakistanis in need.
Two shipments of heavy-duty, waterproof plastic sheeting to be used in construction of temporary dry shelter arrived in Karachi over the past two days. The 770 rolls bring the number of sheeting materials rolls brought to Pakistan to 1,870, an amount expected to help in providing shelter for 112,000 people. Some 14,000 blankets were brought along with the sheeting last week.
“Our experience has shown that plastic sheeting is urgently needed for temporary shelters, and we know it is urgently needed in Sindh as the flood waters continue to move south,” said U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson. “It will be supplied along with locally purchased materials that can be easily moved when people are able to return home.”
The sheeting material will provide dry shelter for 46,800 people in Sindh province. The cargo is immediately being sent to a logistics hub in Sindh and will be distributed by local and international organizations.
Other U.S. contributions to date include:
-- A month’s emergency food rations to more than 307,000 people through a partnership with the World Food Program.
-- About $11.25 million for the United Nations Refugee Agency, $5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross, $3 million to the World Health Organization and $4.1 million for Save the Children.
-- A total of 436,944 meals delivered to civilian and military officials in Pakistan within 36 hours of the initial flooding via U.S. Air Force airlift, a contribution of about $3.7 million.
-- Emergency relief items totaling about $4 million delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority. The items include: 18 Zodiac rescue boats, six water filtration units, 10 water storage bladders, 30 concrete-cutting saws and 12 pre-fabricated steel bridges. A 25-kilowatt generator was provided to the Frontier Scouts-KPk to support their flood relief efforts.